How Often Should A Guitarist Change Strings

How Often Should A Guitarist Change Strings

By Richard Oldfield
In Sep 7, 2010

How Often Should A Guitarist Change Strings?

Like Joe Cocker’s voice, guitar strings wear out with use. The real question is how often should a guitarist change strings? The answer is as often as you can. But a recreational player should change it every quarter or seasonal change. Old guitar strings often go out of tune quicker than new ones and may also give you problems with intonation. The older your strings are the more likely they are to break on you, often at the most inopportune time. So be sure to keep a spare set in your guitar case, in case of emergency. While little or no damage will take place to your guitar if the string snaps, it’s an inconvenience and can be avoided by inspecting your strings and looking for wear and tear.

Old Strings Effect Your Playing

Many guitars wait far too long before changing their strings. Though there are no set rules as to when you should treat your ears to the sound of new strings but there are a few things to keep eye out for which will help you know that the day has come for a string change. Use your senses to look for these telltale signs. Do your strings look faded and corroded? Are they rusty in appearance? Do they feel a little sticky to play? Has your guitar lost some note sustain? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s about time you changed your strings but the most apparent way to know if you need to change guitar strings is your guitars tone.

The older your strings are the more your tone will suffer and the guitar will sound dull and less bright. The oil from your fingers gradually collects on the strings and a way to prevent the build up is to take a rag and place it underneath a string then run it up the neck, along the string. If you notice a build up of grit and grim then this will hamper the string vibration causing a dull and muted sounding string. It’s a good idea to clean your strings in this way as often as you can as this will prolong the guitars brightness. Regular checking of your strings will lead to longer string life, and wiping the strings to remove the oil from your fingers will keep your tone brighter for longer.

How To Change My Strings?

It is important to note that it is not a good idea to remove all your strings at once when you decide to change your strings. I advise against doing this because the six strings of the guitar produce a great deal of tension on the neck of the guitar. If you remove all six strings at once then the neck of the guitar suffers from the drastic change in tension. This may lead to your strings sitting higher off the neck and this will lead to intonation problems. Change your strings one at a time to avoid a number of issues that may lead you to your guitar needing a setup, which is not cheap. Here is a link to a site that will show you the correct technique for changing your strings.

It’s probably not crucial for beginner players to be quite so diligent with keeping new strings on their guitar. Depending on how often you play, changing strings every couple months is a good idea, your ears will thank you for it and girls will love you for it.

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* Plays for the band Your Name In Neon * Has been playing for 9 years * Has 3 years teaching experience * Is in love with the Beatles * Has been gigging for 7 years * Has a secret crush on The Bangles * Is a beginner specialist * Has been a session guitarist

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